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helping a friend choose an old school integrated amp

uzzy

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I had a quick browse through and maybe I missed it but in case no one has said - the Pioneer A400 is a rather special little beast .. I bought two second hand about 20 years ago to make systems for my daughter's (in their bedroom) .. One is sitting still in the bedroom vacated by one when she bought her own house and the other resides in my Conservatory system.

They have never missed a beat - have decent MM MC phono stage and the power to drive most loudspeakers more than adequately.

I will not sell one of mine as yet but if the person lives close to Northampton it could be arranged for him to try one out for a few weeks.

I saw the Myst TMA3 recommenced above and if you can find one at the right price (circa £250 to £300) I would not hesitate if I was in need of an amp (now I have speakers of over 89 db efficiency and an over 4 ohm load) .. it is a special performer and when I heard it I was using Gales (and it would not do the job into the sub 4 ohm load and its modest 40watts a side output) I was bemused that the designer did not do a higher power version. It is one of those really special designs of the past.
 

DomT

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I had a quick browse through and maybe I missed it but in case no one has said - the Pioneer A400 is a rather special little beast .. I bought two second hand about 20 years ago to make systems for my daughter's (in their bedroom) .. One is sitting still in the bedroom vacated by one when she bought her own house and the other resides in my Conservatory system.

They have never missed a beat - have decent MM MC phono stage and the power to drive most loudspeakers more than adequately.

I will not sell one of mine as yet but if the person lives close to Northampton it could be arranged for him to try one out for a few weeks.

I saw the Myst TMA3 recommenced above and if you can find one at the right price (circa £250 to £300) I would not hesitate if I was in need of an amp (now I have speakers of over 89 db efficiency and an over 4 ohm load) .. it is a special performer and when I heard it I was using Gales (and it would not do the job into the sub 4 ohm load and its modest 40watts a side output) I was bemused that the designer did not do a higher power version. It is one of those really special designs of the past.
My friend has now bought an Unison Research Unico 90.

But your A400 comment is interesting. I bought one new when it came out. Compared to my Quad 33/303 is was clearer and more upbeat and so I bought it and kept it for about five years. Fast forward 30 years and I bought it again to see what the fuss was about and I bought some KEF Q15s to try with it as I had Wilson Benesch speakers at the time in the main system. And I really didn’t like what I heard. It sounded thin and forward and was really surprised. But at home at the time I had a Marantz Pearl amp that sounded warm and full or maybe the KEFs were completely the wrong speaker for the A400.
 

Jazid

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Fits with my experience. For me it's an earache amp. Not for those who want warm pipe 'n' slippers, classical, but great for those who like hip-hop, dance and the like.


There is whimsy inside my post, it's not a troll :)
 

uzzy

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My friend has now bought an Unison Research Unico 90.

But your A400 comment is interesting. I bought one new when it came out. Compared to my Quad 33/303 is was clearer and more upbeat and so I bought it and kept it for about five years. Fast forward 30 years and I bought it again to see what the fuss was about and I bought some KEF Q15s to try with it as I had Wilson Benesch speakers at the time in the main system. And I really didn’t like what I heard. It sounded thin and forward and was really surprised. But at home at the time I had a Marantz Pearl amp that sounded warm and full or maybe the KEFs were completely the wrong speaker for the A400.
I use mine in the Conservatory initially with Systym 931 loudspeakers (as I also bought for my daughter in her bedroom) .. used with Pioneer PDS802 for her and 505 precision in the conservatory (since moved to the main system) .. the 901 was neither thing or forward sounding. The Systym 931 were made by Ramsay and Derek Dunlop and more can be found here https://www.hifiwigwam.com/forum/threads/systym-931-speakers.22605/ Now with this speaker if it was going to be a forward and thin it would really show .. but the sound keeps me happy in the conservatory (and that is going from the Art Impressions). As the conservatory has a wooden floor and all glass if the amp was going to sound foreward and thin this would be even moreso in that environment.

I have heard the 400x which is a different beast and not in the same league as the 400 but I am a tad surprised at your results . I have to say when I heard a pair of KEF Q15s years ago (with a Cyrus Integrated Amp) they did sound foreward and bass light to me .. at the end of the day I guess one man's sonic nirvana is another man's earache.

In a direct comparison with my Audio Reseach Hafler DH200 combo the A400 sounded a tad less defined (muddled) and lacking in the bass authority but for an amp I bought Second hand (it replaced an early Cyrus Integrated) for not a lot of money it gives one hell of a performance. Having said all that if I had a choice of an A400 or a Myst TMA3 the Myst would be coming home as it is a rather superlative performer by anyone's standards (provided the speakers are efficient enough)
 

m7rso

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Recapped Lentec. Mega amp, I have one. Fantastic phono stage, mm and mc. £600 ish. Sounds great with all the speakers I have heard it with. Will not lose a penny on resale. Oops read above. Oh well.
 

DomT

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I use mine in the Conservatory initially with Systym 931 loudspeakers (as I also bought for my daughter in her bedroom) .. used with Pioneer PDS802 for her and 505 precision in the conservatory (since moved to the main system) .. the 901 was neither thing or forward sounding. The Systym 931 were made by Ramsay and Derek Dunlop and more can be found here https://www.hifiwigwam.com/forum/threads/systym-931-speakers.22605/ Now with this speaker if it was going to be a forward and thin it would really show .. but the sound keeps me happy in the conservatory (and that is going from the Art Impressions). As the conservatory has a wooden floor and all glass if the amp was going to sound foreward and thin this would be even moreso in that environment.

I have heard the 400x which is a different beast and not in the same league as the 400 but I am a tad surprised at your results . I have to say when I heard a pair of KEF Q15s years ago (with a Cyrus Integrated Amp) they did sound foreward and bass light to me .. at the end of the day I guess one man's sonic nirvana is another man's earache.

In a direct comparison with my Audio Reseach Hafler DH200 combo the A400 sounded a tad less defined (muddled) and lacking in the bass authority but for an amp I bought Second hand (it replaced an early Cyrus Integrated) for not a lot of money it gives one hell of a performance. Having said all that if I had a choice of an A400 or a Myst TMA3 the Myst would be coming home as it is a rather superlative performer by anyone's standards (provided the speakers are efficient enough)
The thing that has only just occurred to me is that mine may well not have been functioning right as it was by then an old amp. I was curious that you liked yours given your other kit.
 

DomT

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How about an old school looking but modern Yamaha A-S 1200 or second hand A-S 1100, I love mine. E6DEAD43-787F-4E1C-A850-6894A52A0AD1.jpeg
That’s a great looking amp but he has already bought a Unico that someone suggested.
 
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oldius

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Recapped Lentec. Mega amp, I have one. Fantastic phono stage, mm and mc. £600 ish. Sounds great with all the speakers I have heard it with. Will not lose a penny on resale. Oops read above. Oh well.
This is a great recommendation: it sounds incredible with more traditional Kef, Spendor and Harbeth designs.
 
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StingRay

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Just some tiny ones in the preamp. Audio people are not entirely logical and don’t always buy what they say they want. He had a listen and loved it.
No sure about tiny, they are 12AX7 and 12AT7s, same as I use in my DAC.
 

calorgas

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The UR Unico is a lovely amp, great choice.
Obviously too late to the party to be of any actual help but I was gonna suggest a serviced Inca Tech Claymore. I'm still working from home and using one daily and it's just a fab little amp.
 

DomT

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Yes lovely hybrid valve amp. Heard deggies unico with the shl5plus seceral times . Delightful
Funnily enough when I moved to the UK I had a home demo of a Unico 90 and SHL5 but only remembered that now that you mentioned it. I remembered it sounding great but we ended up with the Marantz Pearls instead. My mate let me know that he is loving the Unico so thanks to whomever recommended that. The divorce wasn’t great but he is happily playing vinyl and watching old Top Gear.
 

yoda900

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My resurrected Myst TMA3 is sounding really great. Very compact too. They have a MM board fitted as standard but a MC was available too. Really well built and very smart. There's one on eBay at the moment for £420, not mine and no connection to me.

tma3-vintage.jpg


The Myst is a great flat earth amp with a good phono. I keep one with the matching Tuner. Quite rare now.?
Does he need to spend more than on a HK 6550 great power and phono stage. A little grey sounding when compared to very much more expensive amps.
He should have bought the Denon for £750. Worth every penny.
 
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